Saturday, January 21, 2012

A day to be remembered, a day to never forget

A Elgin Baylor memory about his walk through a bad moment in history is below in the article by Henry Abbott of ESPN.

The story below speaks of a time in our society's history that i'm personally not proud of. I have never been to West Virginia. I was not alive in 1966. I have never encountered walking into a restaurant or hotel and being told I was not welcome or experienced someone telling me I had to sit in a separate place from friends because that's where "we" were allowed. This was a a bad time for my country in regard to equality, and not just between races.

 Women were treated unfairly as recently as a few decades ago regularly as the social norm and even still today there are those that believe a women should know her place in life, should be content rearing children and marrying, spending their life making a home for their family. Their responsibilities included everything from cleaning, cooking, helping kids, shopping, laundry, etc while the men were workers and the only "breadwinner" Well, not only have peoples beliefs changed but many families now NEED both parents working in order to even get by and survive the cost of children and the ever rising costs associated with raising that family.

We shouldn't pretend that racism never existed nor pretend it's gone forever, it's an important part of the history of the world and our country as a whole. Some are born into it and others are just ignorant to people that look different then they do but no matter the reasoning it's still disappointing to myself that centuries and 
decades later through all of the uniting and overcoming tragedies this country has suffered we still can find some that truly feel hatred for an entire race for no reason other then conjecture and mis-beliefs.

Elgin Baylor's quiet refusal

January, 16, 20
By Henry Abbott

Organizations like the KKK have used fear and intimidation to try and move their message forward and for years they were successful, expansion continued and their membership exploded, although focused in the south. As generations of men and women grew and were able to speak for themselves they showed through their actions how far we had come by shunning these radical movements and now their are many many less then there were at those dark times in our history.

Try and put yourself in someone else's shoes before speaking against them , and speaking in generalities about an entire religion, race, sex or any other group is Usually a mistake, I feel pretty comfortable making the blanket statement though.......

In 1966, Frank Deford profiled Elgin Baylor for Sports Illustrated. What emerges is undeniably one of the greatest players, and characters, in NBA history. Of course Baylor scored with the best, and rebounded better than almost anyone his size. Today is January 16, 2012, the day we honor the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. It also happens to be,according to Hoopedia, 53 years to the day that Baylor made it known that he would not let West Virginia racists sap his dignity. Deford tells the tale of the racial encounter that marked Baylor's rookie year: 
Then in January the Lakers went to Charleston, W. Va. for a game with Cincinnati. The hotel clerk, a mousy chap, looked at Baylor, immaculate as always, and at the two other Negroes on the team. "We can't take those three. We run a respectable hotel," is what the little man said. Baylor stiffened. He decided simply that he would not play.

But he made no fuss. The papers did not even know. Some of his teammates called him selfish. As the team walked out of the locker room, one Laker spoke over his shoulder: "Nine of us go out to play; nine of us split the playoff money." Baylor heard, as he was supposed to. He made no reply, and he did not move.

Hot Rod Hundley, a teammate who was from Charleston, came back to implore Baylor. He went through the litany: We Need You; For The Team; Please; This Won't Accomplish Anything Anyway. Baylor listened, and only at the end did he speak. "Rod," he said, "I'm a human being. I'm not an animal put in a cage and let out for the show. They won't treat me like an animal."

For the first time Hundley, the white kid from Charleston, understood the great pride that lives in Elgin Baylor. "Baby," he said, "don't play."

The Lakers lost that night but made the playoffs, and Baylor even carried them to the finals before Boston beat them. "By the end of the year," Hundley says, "we couldn't shut Elg up." They split the playoff money 10 ways. 

+Joshua Hastings Google Posts

Twittering away your future.....another story worth checking out.

Don Bosco Prep School in Ramsey New Jersey is a private catholic school that takes this like morals, sexuality and image very seriously. They made that VERY clear to the country and the rest of the world when they chose to expel highly ranked recruit, Yuri Wright. 

All of this wouldn't even be news if he was the 3rd string quarterback on his high school football team that is winless. The thing is, he's the star cornerback on one of the top schools in the country, Don Bosco is what you would call a football POWERHOUSE in high school football. This isn't your local high school in New Hampshire, they consistently churn out impact, highly ranked college recruits, year after year. 

The landscape of has changed drastically for high schoolers that want to go on and play at the next level. AAU for basketball and the off-season leagues for sports make it much easier to get exposure and get your name out and get your foot in the door by way of scouts and recruiters. However, this is a 2 way street. That same exposure is exactly what can hurt your prospects like it did here. 

Yuri Wright had a Twitter account just like hundreds of thousands of other high schoolers in the world, he tweeted just like hundreds of thousands of other kids, he tweeted some sexually explicit tweets just like thousands of other people, but there certainly are not hundreds of thousands of high school football players that can measure up to his talent on the field. The school chose to expel Wright and take a hard line on these types of inappropriate posts(their opinion). I have not seen the actual tweets myself and the "offending" twitter account has been taken down, so I don't have enough information to form an opinion of my own. It has been said to several media outlets, through head football coach Greg Toal, that  it was "totally inappropriate, and sexually graphic".

MY take on the situation is that in this grey area, schools should err on the side of caution when trying to control students outside of school hours. I realize that the students are what form the image of the school and at a catholic, and specifically at a private school where i'm sure the price tag per year is in the 5 figure range. They have to do what's best for the school as a whole, looking at the long-term prospects of future parents and students. However, as I said I didn't see the actual tweets so I can't say what I think the severity of them is, or what I think the severity of the punishment should be, if any at all. In my opinion though, unless it is extremely graphic or derogatory, the school board should look at other ways to handle the situation. There are many many steps you could take between expelling a kid, suspension from school, suspension from team, mandatory sensitivity classes, counseling possibly or requiring him to close the account in order to play possibly. 

I know the article says they have spoke to him several times about his twittering and online activities but it does not say whether he was punished prior. Maybe they should have taken a more hard line stance earlier and he may have taken the situation more seriously? 

What do you think about the situation? Is the school right or wrong to expel him? Should school have taken action, but not expelled? or Should the school have no authority over his outside activities whatsoever and this is completely wrong? Look forward to your comments!

Happy 25th Birthday man, I love you like a brother

Today is a celebration, a day to look back on the first 24+394 years of his life. When he was in his infancy strangers would stare and point, some would even joke about how he looked, talk about how bad he was. He heard the whispers, he saw the stares, and like a man on a mission, slowly they started to come around. As the years passed more and more basketball fans got used to him being at every game, more and more leagues invited him to participate.

 Not the kind of guy to hold a grudge he answered every call, showed up everywhere he was wanted. He brought an excitement to the game of basketball that gave an edge to a different style of play, gave teams that didn't have size a way to compete. 

ESPN-Living+Dying by the 3

When I played ball, we hung out daily, he was my best friend most of the time, we had our bad times, like the semi-finals of the state championship, I was mad as hell, but I knew it wasn't his fault, and by the time the big game rolled around, we were back on the same page.

 After 25 years he's a big part of nearly every single basketball game around the world, his popularity just grew and grew until it could grow no more. You'd be hard pressed to find someone that wants to see him let's all give a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the THREE POINT LINE in college basketball and remember all the memories. 

Just think, how many of the sportscenter highlights revolve around those last second, game changing, full court, dagger in the heart of one team, unbelievable miracle for another, 3 POINT SHOT?????

+Joshua Hastings 
MassAuthentics Website